What Are New Jersey’s Laws on Weapon Possession?
Posted by Scott Gorman - April 30, 2022

While the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives U.S. citizens the right to bear arms, this right is not absolute. Federal and state laws restrict the types of weapons citizens can possess, they impose licensing and other requirements, and they prohibit certain individuals from owning weapons in some cases. New Jersey law imposes several restrictions on the right to bear arms, and violations of New Jersey’s weapons laws can lead to severe penalties. Morristown criminal attorney Scott Gorman explains:

Prohibited Weapons in New Jersey

Section 2C:39-3 of the New Jersey Statutes makes it illegal to own or possess certain weapons under any circumstances. In most cases, possessing a prohibited weapon is a third or fourth-degree indictable crime, meaning that a conviction can carry anywhere from 18 months to five years in prison and a $10,000 to $15,000 fine. Some examples of prohibited weapons in New Jersey include:

  • Assault weapons
  • Defaced firearms
  • Ghost guns
  • Guns with silencers
  • Sawed-off shotguns
  • Switchblades, blackjacks, metal knuckles and other similar devices

Possessing a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes

Even if a weapon is legal in New Jersey, it is still illegal to possess the weapon for unlawful purposes. Section 2C:39-4.a(1) of the New Jersey Statutes states: “Any person who has in his possession any firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree.” Under Section 2C:39-4.d, possessing any weapon other than a firearm for an unlawful purpose is a third-degree indictable offense.

Unlawful Possession of Legal Weapons (Loss of Gun Rights)

In New Jersey, you can lose your right to own or possess a gun if you get convicted of certain types of crimes or if you have been diagnosed with certain mental disorders or other medical conditions (i.e., drug dependence). You can also lose your right to own or possess a weapon pursuant to a domestic violence restraining order.

Section 2C:39-7 makes it unlawful to possess a weapon if you have been convicted of any of the following crimes (among others):

  • Any indictable weapons crime
  • Aggravated assault
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Domestic violence
  • Endangering the welfare of a child
  • Homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault

Depending on the circumstances involved, possessing a weapon when you are prohibited from doing so can range from a fourth-degree indictable offense to a second-degree indictable offense. If you are accused of unlawfully possessing a weapon while committing another crime, you can face charges for that crime as well, and many common crimes carry enhanced penalties when a weapon is involved.

Schedule an Appointment with Criminal Attorney Scott Gorman

If you have been charged with a weapons crime in New Jersey, you have a lot at stake, and you need to defend yourself by all means available. Morristown criminal attorney Scott Gorman can help. To discuss your case with Scott in confidence as soon as possible, call 973-796-3800 or request a free consultation online now. We also have offices in Essex County. 

Published in Categories: Criminal Defense